5.1 Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, one God with the Father who created all things and the Holy Spirit who gives us faith. Jesus is our Savior; the only Person who could meet the requirements needed to pay the price for our sins. He is the Son of God and the Savior promised by God from the time Adam and Eve first sinned. While fully God, He also became fully man. + / -
History agrees that Jesus was a Galilean Jew born a little more than 2,000 years ago. Even most historians agree He was a teacher or a prophet, who was eventually crucified by order of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. However, as is so often the case, there is more to the story.
5.2 How could Jesus be both a human and God?
According to Colossians 2:9, Jesus was God in human form: "For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." To us this may seem complicated, if not impossible. It is indeed a miracle our minds cannot fully grasp-like the Trinity. This is how the angel Gabriel explained it to Mary, who would become His mother:
5.3 How do we know that Jesus is true God?
The Bible clearly describes Jesus as God. The apostle John identifies Him this way:
When the angel Gabriel announced the coming birth of Christ to Mary, he described Him using the following words:
Jesus also possesses the divine characteristics of God. He is eternal (see John 1:1-2), all-powerful (see Matthew 26:64 and Matthew 28:18), all-knowing (see John 21:17), changeless (see Hebrews 13:8), and without sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus also demonstrated His divine power through the many miracles He performed, including the changing of water into wine, healing many sick and leprous people, casting out demons, calming a stormy sea, feeding thousands of people, and raising people from the dead.
5.4 How do we know that Jesus is true man?
Once again, we find confirmation of Jesus' human nature in the Bible. Jesus was born to a human mother (see Luke 2:6-7; Galatians 4:4-5), with a human body and a soul. As He grew from childhood into adulthood, Jesus experienced all the same emotions, feelings and experiences other people do. He felt hunger and thirst (see Matthew 4:2, John 19:28); He was tired (see Mark 6:30-31); He slept (see Mark 4:38); Jesus cried when He was sad (see John 11:35); He got angry (see Mark 3:5); and finally Jesus suffered and died (see Matthew 26-27).
5.5 As true man, how was Jesus' human nature different than ours?
While Jesus was born to a human mother, He did not have a human father. Thus He did not inherit the sinful nature we received from our sinful father and mother. He was conceived without sin. + / -
While announcing the coming birth of Jesus to Mary, the angel Gabriel explains to her how she will come to be with child despite being a virgin.
Another major difference between Christ and every other person who ever lived was the fact that Jesus lived without ever committing a sin. This is critically important because by living without sin, Jesus fulfilled the Law and therefore did not need to die. The fact He suffered and died was a choice He made so He could take our place. This is explained in the words of when Paul writes,
5.6 Why was it necessary for Jesus to be both man and God?
Jesus needed to be fully man so He could obey the Law in our place. Our sinfulness prevents us from being able to perfectly follow the Law as God requires. Jesus was the only Person to have ever lived without violating God's Law, earning eternal life for us. Jesus also had to be man to take our sin and guilt upon Himself and suffer the pain and agony of death on the cross as our perfect Substitute.
Jesus needed to be fully God so His single life and death could substitute for the sinful lives and deaths of every human who has ever lived or ever will live. What's more, Jesus needed to be God to overcome death, hell and the power of the devil. As Paul wrote and confirmed this victory to the church at Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 1:5), he reminded his readers to stand firm and be steadfast, knowing that Jesus paid the price in full so we might live lives that bring glory and honor to Him.
5.7 Why did Jesus do all of this for us?
John 3:16 explains why Jesus came down from heaven to live, die and rise again to save us from our sins:
Through Jesus' sacrifice, we are set free from the bonds of sin. He bore the burden of our sin, suffering the consequences that were rightfully ours to face. Jesus stood in our place, taking from us our guilt, shame and the punishment for our sinfulness (see Romans 5:19). In its place, He gave us the gift of forgiveness of our sins and victory over death, which is the eternal life He earned for us (see 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
If you think about it from a worldly perspective, very few people go out of their way to risk death in order to save another person. What would cause someone to even consider this? Love. Love is why husbands will fight to defend their wives. Love is why parents will do anything to ensure the well-being of their children. As humans, we understand the idea of protecting the things that mean the most to us. The same holds true for God. Stop and take a moment to consider the wonderful things God created: the vast expanse of heavens, the awesome power of a hurricane, the majesty of the mountains, the beautiful colors of a sunset. With those images in mind, realize that above all of those things, God set us apart as the most special part of His entire creation. We are His masterpiece! So in the same way that any loving Father would, God does what is necessary to reclaim His most loved possession.
5.8 Does the church teach that Jesus came back to life after He died on the cross? Really?
Absolutely! This is one of the most important teachings of the church. It is so critical because Jesus' coming back to life after dying for our sins proves that He has defeated death and the cause of death -- sin. This is why Easter is the greatest celebration of the church year.
5.9 I know that Jesus has saved me, so now what?
Imagine for a moment it's Christmas morning and you have just received the most amazing gift ever. Think about the thrill of Christmas when you were a kid. What would your reaction be? Through Christ, we have received a gift far greater than any electronic game, car, or piece of jewelry. We have been given forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
Our response to the knowledge of Christ's great gift for us begins by surrendering our lives to Him. In this case, we surrender our lives to God, allowing Him to dwell in our hearts as we seek to live according to His will.
5.10 What does the word "Christ" mean?
In the Old Testament, men who were called to fulfill certain offices would be anointed with oil to signify they had been chosen for that role. Those three offices were "prophet" (see 1 Kings 19:16), "priest" (see Exodus 30:30), and "king" (see 1 Samuel 16:13). Because the word "Christ" comes from the New Testament Greek word "christos," meaning "anointed," we find that Jesus Christ fulfills the anointing as our prophet, priest and king. In the Old Testament, the corresponding Hebrew word is "Messiah."
5.11 How is Jesus our Prophet?
A prophet is someone who speaks on God's behalf to the people. During His lifetime, Jesus confirmed Himself as the Messiah by fulfilling all the Old Testament prophecies that were spoken concerning Him. This also shows through the words Jesus spoke, the miracles He performed and, ultimately, in His resurrection.
5.12 How is Jesus our Priest?
A priest is someone who intercedes before God on behalf of the people. Jesus serves us as our Priest in three ways:
5.13 How is Jesus our King?
The third office of Christ is that of our King. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus informs us that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him, making Christ our ruler. As our King, Jesus governs and protects us as He leads us through life here on earth and in heaven for eternity.